Marija Marinkovic - 7 April 2014

  • 5  ABBA Museum Stockholm

    ABBA The Museum Photo: Marija Marinkovic

This blog will be different from previous ones that mainly focused on education and educational system in Sweden. While many students impatiently wait for the Swedish Institute scholarships results to be published shortly, it is a good time to take you through a journey of a modern Swedish country. The blog will educate its readers about Sweden in general, and especially the lucky students who will get the scholarship and move to Sweden this autumn.

Dear all,
To begin with, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of approximately 9.6 million. It borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Baltic Sea. During the 17th century Sweden emerged as a European great power. Today, Sweden is a monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The reigning King of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf. Sweden is the 7th richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita and has a high standard of living. In 2013, The Economist declared that the Nordic countries "are probably the best-governed in the world" with Sweden in first place. The country joined the EU in 1995.
The official language is Swedish, a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian, but differing pronunciation and arthrography. In my opinion, Swedish is interesting to study and has many English and German characteristics. All students who will get a two-year master scholarship will have the opportunity to attend SFI School (Swedish language for immigrants). SFI classes are free of charge and very useful. Although international students have no problems in daily communication since the Swedes are fluent in English, I highly recommend all students to start studying Swedish once they come to Sweden because "knowledge of languages is power".
When it comes to Swedish climate, many people have asked me so far how I cope with the cold weather. During my stay in Sweden the weather has not been harsh at all, so I still find that question quite surprising. However, the place where I live- Malmö- is very windy, and I have to say that during first months I needed time to adapt to harsh wind, especially in the area near the sea. Anyway, there is a useful Swedish proverb for cold-sensitive people that my Swedish friends always use to say: "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes" (Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder). Besides, the thing that I like most during summers is long daylight. Because of high latitude, daylight can last until 11 pm, while in some parts of northern Sweden the sun does not set in June at all.
Furthermore, Sweden has been home to many famous persons so far, such as: a chemist Alfred Nobel, former number 1 tennis player Björn Borg and humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg. The area of film has been successful and a number of Swedish people have found success in Hollywood, including Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. Swedish literature is very rich and the Swedish writer who has made the most lasting impression on world literature is the children’s book writer Astrid Lindgren and her books about Pippi Longstocking.
In addition, Sweden has an old musical tradition and there have been many internationally successful bands as ABBA, Roxete, Ace of Base, Europe, The Cardigans, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Basshunter, singers LykkeLi, Loreen, etc. Interest in fashion is big in Sweden and the country is headquartering famous brands like Hennes & Mauritz (operating as H&M), Lindex, Tiger of Sweden, etc. Besides, did you also know that Volvo, Ericsson, Tetra Pak or IKEA come from Sweden.
/Marija Marinkovic
P.S. For students who will soon move to Sweden, here is a useful link on "20 things to know before moving to Sweden": and a video clip about "10 good things to know about Sweden"